The role of effective coordination in the mobile substation at Ajah transmission substation
By Idowu Oyebanjo, PhD
Multi-stakeholder coordination is key to resolving the many issues bedeviling the Nigerian power sector and having regular multi-stakeholder engagements will help achieve results faster than can be imagined.
To be effective, there must be a project coordinator, skilled in the art of bringing together people from different biases for a common goal – in this case, delivery of a power system project.
Mid-week, the media was awash with photographs of the energization of the first-of-its kind Mobile Substation in Nigeria at Ajah Transmission Substation in Lagos State. Explaining why this is “first-of-its kind”, Engr. Mojeed Akintola, GM, Lagos Region of TCN, explained that whereas “we have Mobile Transformers in Nigeria before now, this is the first one that is a full substation with 33kV outgoing feeders already contained in the same arrangement”. Some people with bias will not agree but this is because they do not know the difference between a Mobile Substation and a Mobile Transformer. I will do an educational write-up on this in the future.
The Ajah Mobile Substation Case Study
A 63MVA, 132/33kV Mobile Substation designed, manufactured , and tested by Siemens in partnership with FGN Power Company of Nigeria Limited (FGNPC), and TCN was scheduled for implementation at Ajah Transmission Substation from Monday, 16th October to Wednesday, 1st November, 2023. Evacuation of wheeled power through the TCN network will be by Eko DisCo, the network distribution company supplying electricity to consumers in the Lekki, Ajah, Ikate, Ilasan, Badore, Sangotedo, Awoyaya, Ibeju, Ibeju-Lekki, Akodo, etc of the Ajah end of Lagos.
Thus, the key stakeholders (operationally speaking) for project implementation are the project coordinator (FGNPC), TCN, and Eko DisCo. The actual testing and commissioning of the Mobile Substation was done by MBH Power Limited (EPC Contractor) ably supervised by Oska Jo and Partners, the appointed Design and Engineering Management Consultant (DEMC) by FGNPC. Of course there were other non-operational stakeholders to mention, chief among whom are the consumers.
The Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) established to resolve the misalignment in the Nigerian Electricity Sector, being implemented by FGNPC, has an end-to-end philosophy enshrined in the very fabric of its operation. By this is meant, a holistic consideration is giving to a project at the conceptual stage to ensure that power system project will involve stakeholders in all the sub-systems of the electricity value chain – fuel supply, generation, transmission, distribution, and consumers. This is what was lacking in the delivery of power projects in Nigeria since privatisation, and a careful study of the failures of previous interventions in the power sector worldwide reveals this to be the case.
A meeting of key stakeholders was called, with a clear description of the objectives and expected outcomes of the meeting. Please see photographs taken during some of the regular constructability, Site & Project Status Review Meetings held. Meetings were punctual and in hybrid format so that members of the team who may be unavoidably absent for the physical meeting on site can contribute meaningfully to discussions. In all meetings, the work programme was discussed and the difference between actual project performance against plan was established (Actual versus Plan). Remedial action(s) is/are taken to bridge the gap(s) daily, including escalation to higher authorities, where necessary. The Project Coordinator, just like other team members, must be sharp, adept, skillful and focused. Otherwise, project schedule will derail. Cooperation and collaboration are two key requirements for success and this has to be kept in focus throughout implementation. Daily safety briefings, and proper documentation of visitors and operators working on site using a site attendance register helped to avoid any casualty/fatality.
The testing and commissioning schedule was first agreed and fine-tuned to ensure optimization of time and resources. Several site meetings were held and team members sacrificed their weekends, sometimes, to ensure that the target dates for energization of the Mobile Substation were met. Testing and Commissioning was carried out by MBH in the presence of the DEMC, and supervised by TCN. Also, in line with the usual practice of TCN, another layer of confirmation that the tests were okay, and that the equipment, when deployed, will meet the satisfactory performance expected of the TCN network, was carried out by a special crew of protection, control, and metering (PC&M) specialists that conducted an independent and rigorous testing of the equipment. This gave further assurance to the management of TCN at the Corporate Headquarters in Abuja who will issue the final approval to the National Control Centre (NCC) in Oshogbo through the local System Operator, to grant the required outage for the energization of the equipment.
This project, and the replacement 60MVA power transformer from FGNPC/Siemens, also on site, when completed, will free up additional 123MVA capacity and make same available to residents of Lekki, Ajah, Badore, Sangotedo, Awoyaya, Ibeju, Ibeju-Lekki, Akodo, VGC etc. This will no doubt cause a significant leap in the number of hours and quality of power supply available to residents of these areas and we will monitor feedbacks from consumers.
To resolve the power sector conundrum, collaboration of all relevant stakeholders is key. FGN Power Company of Nigeria Limited is achieving great success because of adopting a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach to managing power project delivery, end-to-end in Nigeria.
Energization of 63MVA, 132/33kV “first-of-its kind” Mobile Substation in Nigeria happened in Ajah mid-week. This is a historic moment and the beaming, smiling, glittering, and glowing ecstatic faces of those present, on and offline during the energization, is a sure testament to the project management capacity of FGN Power Company of Nigeria Limited in the current Nigerian Power Sector landscape.
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